2013-01-07

Architecture of the world

Alessandro Bonadio, barrios, Lima, 2011

The exhibition is entitled: Architecture of the World. Infrastructure, Mobility, New Landscapes. You can visit it until February 10th at Triennale Design Museum in Milan.
The title refers explicitly to those works, such as roads, railways and airports, that most give shape to the world and that enable it to function, and it examines how they relate to changing uses and habits and to an increasingly endangered environment.
 

The exhibition consists of four sections.
Le Corbusier, Plan Obus, 1931
The historical section will look at the twentieth century, with famous works like Le Corbusier’s designs for Algiers and Chandigarh, those by Saarinen for the Helsinki station and Poelzig’s for the Klingerberg dam. But there are also cases that, still today, can act as models for their ability to create public space and environmental value. These include the Moscow metro system, Plečnik’s arrangement of the riverside in Ljubljana and Rino Tami’s architectural project for the environmental insertion of the Ticino motorway. A special section will then examine large-scale Italian engineering projects, which became famous in Italy and abroad from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The section devoted to recent works made outside of Italy is designed to provide an up-to-date overview of works, divided by category. Some of these may constitute examples for how Italy can make up for the time it has lost in recent years. 

3S Studio, Albisola Superiore, 2011

The section devoted to the situation in Italy intends to show what is being made or has just been completed, even though this is not without its gaps and contradictions. In particular, it examines some situations in which the relationship between infrastructures, architecture, art, landscape, and city has played a significant part in interesting new solutions, as in the cases of Reggio Emilia, Naples, Perugia, Venice and the works undertaken by FSI. 

The scale changes dramatically in the last section of the exhibition. This looks at colossal works to defend against sand and wind, for water and power supplies for a truly “global” circulation. These operations have long been under way in Africa, China and South America, on the Bering and in Panama, and they have roots in the twentieth century, in historic operations like Herman Sörgel’s visionary Atlantropa project, which was to lower the level of the Mediterranean for agricultural and energy purposes, and Stalin’s operations in Russia and those of the New Deal in America.
 
GMP, Berlin, 2006

Along the way, visitors will also come across special analyses, such as the video presentation of 45 reports on as many cities around the world. These are presented by young architects and researchers who live and work, or who have lived and studied abroad, even though their educational background was in Italy. They will be giving their point of view concerning the main operations under way in the infrastructure sector in the world’s major cities. And there will be space also for the theme of the permeability of infrastructures and a new map of their extension at the global level.
Finally, although the general theme of this exhibition is that of infrastructure, the real issue that is put to the attention of visitors is how careful design, based on architectural quality, multifunctionality and environmental compatibility, can give added value to these increasingly important features of the modern landscape. This has to do not only with the functions that gave rise to them, but also with the aesthetic, environmental and social improvements that can be made to the territories and cities of which they are a part.